Yamaha Corporation (ヤマハ株式会社 Yamaha Kabushiki Gaisha) (TYO: 7951) is a multinational corporation and conglomerate based in Japan with a wide range of products and services, predominantly musical instruments, electronics, motorcycles and power sports equipment.
Yamaha was established in 1887 as a piano and reed organ manufacturer by Torakusu Yamaha as Nippon Gakki Company, Limited (日本楽器製造株式会社 Nippon Gakki Seizō Kabushiki Gaisha) (literally Japan Musical Instrument Manufacturing Corporation) in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka prefecture and was incorporated on October 12, 1897. The company's origins as a musical instrument manufacturer is still reflected today in the group's logo—a trio of interlocking tuning forks.
After World War II, company president Genichi Kawakami repurposed the remains of the company's war-time production machinery and the company's expertise in metallurgical technologies to the manufacture of motorcycles. The YA-1 (AKA Akatombo, the "Red Dragonfly"), of which 125 were built in the first year of production (1958), was named in honor of the founder. It was a 125cc, single cylinder, two-stroke, street bike patterned after the German DKW RT125 (which the British munitions firm, BSA, had also copied in the post-war era and manufactured as the Bantam and Harley-Davidson as the Hummer). In 1959, the success of the YA-1 resulted in the founding of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.
Yamaha has grown to become the world's largest manufacturer of musical instruments (including pianos, "silent" pianos, drums, guitars, brass instruments, woodwinds, violins, violas, celli, vibraphones and saxophones), as well as a leading manufacturer of semiconductors, audio/visual, computer related products, sporting goods, home appliances, specialty metals and industrial robots.
In October 1987, on its 100th anniversary, the name was changed to Yamaha Corporation.
In 1989, Yamaha shipped the world's first CD recorder. Yamaha purchased Sequential Circuits in 1988 and bought a significant share (51%) of competitor Korg in 1989–1993.
In 2002, Yamaha closed down its archery product business that was started in 1959. Six archers in five different Olympic Games won gold medals using their products.
It acquired German audio software manufacturers Steinberg in January 2005, from Pinnacle Systems.
In July, 2007, Yamaha bought out the minority shareholding of the Kemble family in Yamaha-Kemble Music (UK) Ltd, Yamaha's UK import and musical instrument and professional audio equipment sales arm, the company being renamed Yamaha Music U.K. Ltd in autumn 2007. Kemble & Co. Ltd, the UK piano sales & manufacturing arm was unaffected.
On December 20, 2007, Yamaha made an agreement with the Austrian Bank BAWAG P.S.K. Group BAWAG to purchase all the shares of Bösendorfer, intended to take place in early 2008. Yamaha intends to continue manufacturing at the Bösendorfer facilities in Austria. The acquisition of Bösendorfer was announced after the NAMM Show in Los Angeles, on January 28, 2008. As of February 1, 2008, Bösendorfer Klavierfabrik GmbH operates as a subsidiary of Yamaha Corp.
Yamaha Corporation is also widely known for their music teaching programme that began in the 1950s.
Yamaha electronic pianos continue to be a successful, popular and respected product. For example the Yamaha YPG-625 was given the award "Keyboard of the Year" and "Product of the Year" in 2007 from The Music and Sound Retailer magazine.
Other companies in the Yamaha group include:
- Bösendorfer Klavierfabrik GmbH, Vienna, Austria.
- Yamaha Motor Company
- Yamaha Fine Technologies Co., Ltd.
- Yamaha Livingtec Corporation
- Yamaha Metanix Corporation
- Yamaha Pro Audio
Kandō (感動) is a Japanese word, used by Yamaha to describe their corporate mission. Kandō in translation describes the sensation of profound excitement and gratification derived from experiencing supreme quality and performance. A reasonable English synonym is "awe-inspiring".
Main article: List of Yamaha products
Synthesizers / Samplers
Yamaha announced the singing synthesizer Vocaloid for the first time at the German fair Musikmesse on March 5-9, 2003.
Yamaha also began to get involved with the sale and production of Vocaloid applications themselves with Lily being the first; Lily was later sold via Internet Co., Ltd.'s website. Their involvement continued with the VY series, with VY1 being the first, released in deluxe and standard editions on September 1, 2010. The VY series is a series designed to be a high quality product for professional musicians. The series is also designed with the intention to set a new standard for the Vocaloids for having no face, sex or set voice, but are designed to complete any song. VY1 saw a new approach to how the software handled the database of samples and improved the performance of the Vocaloid 2 engine.
Yamaha announced a version of the Vocaloid 2 software for the iPhone and iPad, which exhibited at the Y2 Autumn 2010 Digital Content Expo in Japan. Later, this version of the software was released using the VY1 voice.